(Riding Shotgun is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
For the Millennials and younger reading this tome, riding shotgun did not originate from the late twentieth century practice of yelling “shotgun” when the vehicle in which you would be riding was in view.
Being the first to scream “shotgun” in these instances earned you the front passenger seat; and banished everyone other than the driver to the back.
Riding shotgun originally referred to the man who rode alongside the driver of a stagecoach or other horse-drawn transport. He was armed with pistols and a long gun – sometimes a shotgun – and his job was to protect the stagecoach and its contents from bandits and others – by lethal force, if necessary.
Today, when your annoying manager or coworker says he or she will be riding shotgun on this deal or in that meeting, they’re not telling you they plan to shoot dead anyone who threatens you, they’re just saying they will be there to assist.
Of course, this begs the question, why don’t they just say “assist?”
Because they’re annoying, that’s why
Replacement phrases: Assist
See also: Run Interference; Point Person
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon